When I was a little girl, I shared a dream with many other little girls. I wanted to be a ballerina.
It was for all the usual reasons- the lovely, floaty dancing- the shiny, pointy, pink slippers- and of course the tutus. If there were tutus involved, I was in.
But I was one of six girls. My mom worked part time and we were in school full time. Ballet lessons just weren’t on the agenda. But did I let that stop me? No siree. If I couldn’t have real lessons, I would teach myself.
Those were the days before Youtube, of course, and there were no handy online tutorials I could google. But we did have a well worn VHS recording of the Nutcracker, performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet that I watched ad nauseum. I imitated the dancing as best I could, hunted around the house for ballet -type attire (one of my mom’s fluffy old slips was a pretty good tutu substitute) and thus attired, I pranced around the house to my heart’s content.
One year, I was given a pair of silky, pink, ballet-esque slippers for my birthday. With those on my feet to spur my imagination, I felt capable of starring in a ballet of my own. And one of the beauties of having five sisters was that I could make such a thing a reality. I coaxed them into joining my venture, and we started production immediately.
First, we had to decide on the music. That was easy enough. Dad had just purchased one of the first compact disc players on the market, and we were the proud owners of two cds- Handel’s Messiah and Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto. Handel didn’t seem very suitable for ballet, so that left Rachmaninoff.
Then it was decided that we were all to be flowers, as pink and fluffy as our dress-up box would allow. There we would huddle in the living room while the opening bars of the concerto began. I was in the center of the flower huddle- the self-appointed prima donna- because, if you remember, I owned the pink slippers.
Then, as the music quickened, out ran my baby sister, trailing a bright orange blanket. She was the sun, of course. She circled the flower huddle once or twice, and as she toddled away, we flowers would slowly awaken. Then I had to do my own little bit of solo dancing (the pink slippers demanded it) and after that, it was pretty much every dancer for herself. (Just imagine a whole lot of twirling)
The grand finale always included the same dramatic scene- the six of us lined up according to size on the living room stairs, and with arms gracefully extended, we would leap more or less simultaneously onto the worn brown carpet below. Despite our best efforts to land lightly, we always came thudding down like a ton of bricks, causing the cd in the player to skip around violently and bring our performance to a sudden end. It was not, perhaps, the best ballet in the world, but it has left plenty of good memories. Sometimes I still think about being a ballerina, even though that ship has long since sailed. And I will always enjoy watching ballet.
But all of this is to say, that when a friend suggested a few weeks back that I should try and make a ballerina doll, I had to mentally smack myself in the forehead. Of course! I love ballet, I love dolls, and I love tutus!
So without further ado, let me introduce my first ballerina doll.
Generally, when I think of ballerinas, I think pink, but I only had a little bit of red and white tulle, so I thought I would see what I could make out of the materials I had on hand before stocking up on new supplies.
And a view of her slippers. I thought about altering the doll pattern so that her toes would be pointed down, but again, figured I would see how things looked before I made any major alterations. What do you think? Should I change the feet?
So there she is. (By the way, I have already sold this doll, but I plan on making more if there is interest.). And I’ve also been contemplating some design ideas for Nutcracker dolls, what with Christmas coming and all. Or maybe just some custom ballet dresses.